For the Wronskis, of New Canaan, volunteering is a family affair.
"Volunteering is not about helping only the people you know, but rather it's about serving those you have never met but who may need you the most," said Stephen and Ann Wronski, who have been helping women and children in need for more than two decades by supporting Thorpe Family Residences Inc. of Bronx, N.Y.
Thorpe is an organization that provides a safe haven for families in crisis, providing shelter and supportive programs under the sponsorship of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, N.Y., for more than 25 years.
Growing up on Long Island, Ann Wronski chose to volunteer for Thorpe Family Residences when she was a student at Fordham University.
"My experience helping Thorpe has enriched my life so much more than receiving, and by involving more people we can make the world a more just place."
Ann received the President's Youth Service Award at graduation for her work with Thorpe Family Residence.
Ten-year residents of New Canaan, the Wronskis believe volunteering is not only a part of their civic duty but an enriching part of their life.
Ann, a graduate of Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, serves on the Thorpe Development Committee and has been working to solicit donations for the 25th Thorpe Family Residence Anniversary event Friday, Oct. 4, at the Carriage Barn Arts Center at Waveny Estate, 681 South Ave., New Canaan. The event takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Steve, who is a Thorpe board member and serves on the Finance Committee, said, "My involvement in Thorpe's mission has rewarded me personally and I am privileged to be able to help a wonderful cause. I wish we could do more."
A former resident of Boulder, Colo., and a graduate of the University of North Dakota, Steve has worked at a New York investment bank for 21 years. He and Ann have been married since 1998. Ann previously taught first grade in the Bronx and worked as a speech language pathologist at a private practice in Manhattan before their three children were born. Their children, ages 12, 9, and 7, all attend middle and elementary schools in New Canaan.
"When we give we feel good," said Ann. "We want to encourage our children to do the same and get that same great feeling. An example is when our son, Stephen, went on a trip to the Bronx Zoo with the children from Thorpe. He still talks about that day and the friends he made."
The Wronskis describe the work of the staff of Thorpe Family Residences as "selfless role models who have been an inspiration to us."
Over the years, the Wronskis have also been instrumental in encouraging others to assist Thorpe with their fundraising initiatives. Now both the New Canaan Kiwanis Club and St. Aloysius Parish are involved in Thorpe's mission. Also, New Canaan residents have hosted jewelry party fundraisers, lemonade stands and delivered presents at the holidays to Thorpe Family Residence.
"This work cannot be done alone. Nicole Ahrens and Mariella Scofield, of New Canaan, serve on Thorpe's Development Committee and have been working tirelessly to make this fundraiser a success," said Ann. "An enormous effort has been put forth by these women to solicit gifts and donations for this milestone event."
Tickets are $60. For information, visit www.thorpefundraiser.eventbrite.com.